Twenty-one political parties on Sunday demanded the Election Commission to increase the number of EVMs randomly verified using their Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). The Opposition leaders who addressed a joint press conference in New Delhi demanded that 50 per cent EVMs should be verified against the paper trial.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said they were not satisfied with the recent Supreme Court order directing the EC to increase the number of EVM’s randomly verified from 1 to 5 per assembly constituency. Naidu added that a fresh petition will be filed in the matter or the parties will move a review plea.
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Congress senior leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that they will approach the Supreme Court and carry out a nationwide campaign on the issue of discrepancies in EVMs. Referring to issues of malfunctioning of EVMs during the first phase of elections, Singhvi said, “Questions were raised after the first phase of elections, we don’t think EC is paying adequate attention. If you press the button before X Party, vote goes to Y party. VVPAT displays only for 3 seconds, instead of 7 seconds.”
“It has become even more necessary to count at least 50% of the paper trail of VVPAT, we will demand the same in Supreme Court,” Singhvi was quoted as saying by ANI.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that the people were losing faith in EVMs and want to go back to paper ballot. And since there is a shortage of time, at least 50 per cent VVPATs should be counted, he added.
Meanwhile, the BJP described the presser by the Opposition as an admission of defeat. BJP National Spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said, “The so-called all-party meeting convened in Delhi is nothing but a confession of defeat by of the so-called Mahagathbandhan.”
Rao further said that the Opposition does not have any agenda on governance nor the leadership to inspire people. “The only thing opposition parties have in common is the negativity and an attempt to somehow pull India back from the development it witnessed in the last five years,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the TDP wrote to the poll body claiming it was avoiding the issue of malfunctioning EVMs by citing unrelated issues. On Saturday, the objected to the presence of Hari K Prasad in the TDP delegation that went to meet the poll body officials. Prasad was arrested in 2010 following an attempt to prove that EVMs can be tampered with.
The EC wrote a letter to the party’s legal cell disapproving of Prasad’s presence. “…this is completely intriguing as to how a so-called technical expert with these antecedents (the FIR against Prasad for stealing an EVM) was allowed to be a part of the delegation being led by Shri Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh and President, TDP,” the letter stated.